Luther at the Diet of Worms

“To see excitement and dissension arise because of the Word of God is to me clearly the most joyful aspect of all in these matters.  For this is the way, the opportunity, and the result of the Word of God, just as He [Christ] said, ‘I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, etc.’ [Matt. 10:34-35].  Therefore, we ought to think how marvelous and terrible is our God in his counsels, lest by chance what is attempted for settling strife grows rather into an intolerable deluge of evils, if we begin by condemning the Word of God.  And concern must be shown lest the reign of this most noble youth, Prince Charles (in whom after God is our great hope), become unhappy and inauspicious.  I could illustrate this with abundant examples from Scripture–like Pharaoh, the king of Babylon, and the kings of Israel, who when they endeavored to pacify and strengthen their kingdoms by the wisest counsels, most surely destroyed themselves.  For it is He who takes the wise in their own craftiness [Job 5:13] and overturns mountains before they know it  [Job 9:5].  Therefore we must fear God.  I do not say these things because there is a need of either my teachings or my warnings for such leaders as you, but because I must not withhold the allegiance which I owe my Germany.  With these words I commend myself to your most serene majesty and to your lordships, humbly asking that I not be allowed through the agitation of my enemies, without cause, to be made hateful to you.”  Martin Luther, “Luther at the Diet of Worms,” Luther’s Works, vol. 32, pp. 111-112.

This quote comes from Luther’s speech at the Diet of Worms on April 18, 1521.  It demonstrates Luther’s audacity based in his trust in Christ and his Word.  Additionally, he reminded the princes assembled that he was a loyal German subject of the Holy Roman Empire.

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